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Windows November update trips up some Intel graphics drivers
If you're having trouble with your games, this may be why
Windows users who installed an update from November 2022 may run into problems rendering content and running their games if their systems are using particular versions of Intel graphics drivers.
According to Microsoft, after installing KB50119980, which was released three months ago, Windows and Windows Server users could see an error with apphelp.dll if their devices are running versions 220.127.116.1163 up to 18.104.22.1680 of Intel's graphics drivers.
"This issue might happen intermittently and affects apps which use DirectX or Direct3D to render part or all of their content," Microsoft wrote this week in the Windows Health Dashboard.
There was no explanation why the Windows update affected the Intel graphics driver, only that it impacts systems running Windows 11 versions 22H2 and 21H2, Windows 10 versions 22H2, 21H1, and 20H2, and Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2019, as well as Windows Server 2022.
DirectX is an important rendering tool, particularly with games, which enables the software to work directly with the system's video and audio. It's required in many Windows games to let users more efficiently leverage multimedia accelerator capabilities built into the hardware.
If the wrong version of DirectX is installed, the game won't work properly. Intel graphics drivers are a key component of DirectX.
Direct3D is an API framework and part of DirectX that enables developers to create and modify 3D objects and services in Windows-based applications where performance is key, including games. It includes programs, functions, and prewritten commands that can be integrated into Windows applications.
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The API can use GPU hardware acceleration when available and integrates with other DirectX tools that provide features like hardware 3D rendering in 2D overlay planes and video mapping.
Gaming is an important – and growing – revenue stream for Microsoft so keeping the gamers happy is crucial. According to Statista, the software vendor generated more than $16.2 billion in gaming revenue in 2022, up from $10.3 billion five years earlier. It's certainly what's driving the controversial $69 billion bid to buy Activision Blizzard.
Microsoft said it is working on a fix that will be released in an upcoming update.
Until then, Microsoft has a workaround for those impacted, which essentially comes down to installing a version of the Intel graphics driver that is later than 22.214.171.1240. Users should check the manufacturer's support information for their Windows systems to see find the latest version of the graphics driver that can be supported.
If there is no driver later than 126.96.36.1990, Intel offers information for downloading and installing the latest graphics driver directly from the chip maker. ®